Mother Knows Best: Sick Kids and Cannabis Oil
How to balance caring for kids when their medicine is illegal.
Published on June 13, 2016

Dear Mother,

First, I'd like to say thanks for inspiring an open forum for people with questions about cannabis.

I'm a single parent living in a state where marijuana is illegal for medicinal and recreational use. The bad part is I use marijuana and concentrates for one of my kids who has a blood disorder and lives in pain for days at a time. Right before he turned one, he had been in and out of hospitals for his medical condition, and I didn't know what to do to help him. After the final bout of pneumonia before his first birthday I was introduced to medicinal marijuana and oils.

Instantly I saw the pain relief this beautiful flower brought to my son, sadly it has been a secret I've carried for years. The most challenging part of all is being able to find a job with full-time flexibility, that allows for me to work from home when my son is sick, or worse trying to pass a drug test.

I've worked in healthcare finance for nine years with tons of experience, but it seems I always have to choose between my son and job.

Do you have any advice?


Trying my hardest...


Dear TS,

I am so sorry to hear about your situation and your son. You sound like an amazing parent who is doing their best given the circumstances. I want to let you know that you are not alone, and that there are many parents who are fighting to make cannabis medicine legal so their children can have safe access to this life-saving plant.

While I'm sure there is no easy solution and you've considered a variety of options, let's look at what's on the table. Have you looked into moving to a state that has legal medical marijuana? I understand if this is not a possibility, as uprooting yourself and your family as a single parent can be quite the undertaking. However, I would hate for you to experience any potential legal consequences (or losing your job) because you're trying to do what's best for your child.

I wish the federal government would acknowledge the fact that so many people — including kids — are benefiting from medical cannabis. That way, families like yours don't have to live in fear, or worry about their medicine being taken away. While 24 states currently have legalized medicinal marijuana, many more need to hurry up and get with the program so that families like yours don't need to make these tough, potentially life-altering decisions. If you're able to, reach out to your state's legislators and urge them to make medicinal cannabis legal.

I want to remind you — again — you're not alone. Filmmakers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein are working on a new film, Weed the People, which is currently in the editing phase. The documentary focuses on parents like you who will go to any lengths to help their children. While I know it doesn't make things any easier, it might at least help to know that you're not the only one dealing with these things.  

Wanting to find more ways to help, I spoke with Tracy Ryan, CEO of CannaKids, a California foundation that works with families using cannabis oil to help children fighting various diseases/conditions. Many of the people working at CannaKids have firsthand experience in this area, including Tracy. She's the mother of Sophie, who battled a brain tumor and benefited greatly from cannabis therapy. You can learn more about Sophie and her story, as well as find many resources that may be useful, at Tracy explained to me that they have a secret CannaKids group on Facebook with over 2000 families that you can be added to if you contact them via their website. While they can't legally provide oils to people out of state, the folks behind CannaKids can provide guidance.

Tracy offered up these words, just for you, TS: "As a parent, you will do anything to help your child! With so many harsh treatments and pharmaceuticals, and so little research being done to advance pediatric medicines, cannabis has been that shining light us parents have been waiting for! It's non-toxic, has no harmful side effects, makes our kids feel better and get well faster, and is Mother Nature's most incredible medicine. Never stop fighting for your child's right to this plant!!! Every voice counts, and some day soon this medicine will be available to all."

Good luck,


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Mother Knows Best
Mother Knows Best is written by a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience with cannabis. And yes, she also happens to be a mother, just not yours. Reach her with your question at [email protected].
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